Last year around May I wrote a blog about experiencing island blues. I dithered about posting it and then eventually thought bugger it all and just did. That blog won me some new friends and it caused quite a few ladies to reach out and say ‘wow, we thought we were alone in how we feel’. It turned out they weren’t alone and neither was I.

Back then we couldn’t even imagine what 2020 would bring in the way of something much worse than a dose of island blues. It brought us Covid19, it brought us lock-down, it brought us isolation, quarantine and some incredible highs and lows. Highs and lows which seems to me personally to not have come to an end yet and hearing daily how people wish 2020 would just come to an end so we can press reset and hopefully start 2021 on a better foot tells me I am not alone in this train of thought.

I dare say most of us were lucky to escape not just weeks but months of isolation with our sanity barely intact if even that. I know of families that still hasn’t managed to get back together, husbands and wives and worse, children, still stuck in other countries due to closed borders and flights not operating. Here and there we hear a feel good tale of someone who managed to cut through yards and yards of red tape and managed to get reunited with their loved ones. It is however, an extremely arduous and prohibitively expensive process and not possible for all. My heart goes out to each and every person who’s still awaiting the return of a loved one. Everyone that’s patiently waiting for borders to re-open, for flights to resume. My heart goes out to those who’s had to give up the fight and has had to close their businesses or lost their jobs during this pandemic.

Covid19 doesn’t really feel worthy of all the hype around it and all the destruction it’s left in it’s wake. I did write about this in my last blog called Post Lock-down but what I didn’t share is that in the aftermath of this whirlwind of restrictions and new laws and so-called new way of life I find myself often barely holding on to my sanity. Our world as we know it has this year been changed in ways we would never think possible. I often wonder if I will just wake up one day and realize its’ all been a dream but then I turn on my laptop and Google shows me I’m wrong. It’s all real; everything is real,  Covid19, lock-down, closed borders, discontinued air-travel for most countries, explosions in Beirut, mass protesting in America (not even going into that topic), fires in Australia, volcanoes and extreme flooding in Sudan and other countries. Please bear in mind half the time I don’t even read or watch the news as I honestly find it too depressing at times so don’t quote me on anything, although I did check with my friend Google before writing this and even I have caught at the very least the main headlines of what’s been happening globally this year.

Stuck on an island currently with no way out. Wearing mask to the shops and even to the bank, what has become of our lives. What has happened to our freedom and so called free will, our ability to take charge of our lives and plan ahead. How can we plan ahead if there are no planes flying. Countries with closed borders that are curtailing travels, export, import and most importantly stopping people from connecting with loved ones or just simply returning home.

I feel a sense of being afloat, living on a rock in the middle of the ocean probably adds to the illusion but as I listen to friends, family and acquaintances it quickly becomes clear that we all share the same worries. When will we able to travel again, when will borders open and businesses can operate as per normal not like some are now, with skeleton staff, shorter hours, or closed for the duration. When will be able to reunite with our families. When will life go back to normal. This life is NOT NORMAL. Wearing a mask and having my temperature checked at each and every shop or establishment I enter IS NOT NORMAL. Being prevented from leaving or entering a country is NOT NORMAL. Being isolated due to a lock-down and only able to shop when the government allows one to is NOT NORMAL. Not being able to be with loved ones is NOT NORMAL.

I feel anger at this fast changing environment. For some these changes brought prosperity and wealth, for too many others it brought loneliness, hunger, desolation, desperation and radically changed their lives not always positively so.

2020 is about more than island blues. Our rock has been Covid free since May 2020 bar some cases in quarantine, but we are still cut off from the rest of the world. 2 friends haven’t seen their husbands since before covid, one might only see hers next year the way things are going. Other friends will be spending Christmas and new years without their children whom they’ve not seen since last year. Our family will be apart as the girl-child will not only be spending Christmas away from us but also her 21st. I know we’re not the only family by far who’s had to forego special days and events this year, no matric farewells, no graduations, colleges and universities that closed and still haven’t resumed. Families with young children whom hasn’t seen their friends in forever. Elderly folks not allowed contact with their children. Weddings canceled, funerals via Zoom. It’s a travesty. I have little attachment to worldly goods but I’ve always valued having my loved ones around me. I’m sure in time I’ll get over it but I’ll never get used it.

We’re in the final quarter of 2020. On the slippery slopes to Christmas. We are metaphorically still standing, grateful for being fortunate enough that hubby’s still working. I can but send positive vibes to those who need them. My door is always open to those who need more in the way of a chat or a cup of coffee. It’s all we can do to support one another and pray for the madness to end. When life hands you lemons you can choose to only experience the sourness or to use them to make lemonade, or in my case dunk them in my gin and tonic. We are like those little trees that grows in the crack of a wall. REsilient, hardy, strong. Let’s bloom where we are!!

I wish you love and light and as I enter this last bit of the year I am valiantly throwing myself into various projects to lift the doom and gloom that 2020 has deposited on my soul. Some of it works and some doesn’t but I’m holding on to this thought, one I’ve used in my blogs a few times before. “This too shall pass, like a kidney stone, painfully so but pass it will.”